Ask the Right Question

Last night, I listened to local colleague and news analyst Roby Brock sit down with Congressman Vic Snyder (D -Arkansas) on KUAR.  You can see a summary and links to more information about the interview here.  Or, you can view the interview on YouTube here.  (Note:  if you are receiving this on an email from Feedblitz, you may need to click through to the site to see the media.) What got my attention though was the topic of the environment.  I get very concerned that we are asking the wrong questions when it comes to the environment.  And as a coach, questions are very important to me.

The conversation always seems to be posited in terms of global warming.  The progress of legislation and policy changes is therefor tied to whether or not any particular person in power believes in global warming.  Even environmental advocates such as Congressman Snyder must deal with this trap.  Personally, I would like to see us change that conversation altogether.  Suppose for the moment that global warming is a natural phenomenon and that we could prove conclusively that man has had no impact at all.  Suppose that it is a plot cooked up by the liberal media so that Al Gore could win a Nobel Prize (as some on the extreme right have suggested).  So what!

Is that then an excuse to ignore the fact that we live on a planet with finite space and resources?  Short of learning how to convert energy from wind and solar energy, (or discovering some new less limited source) we will eventually run dry of coal and oil.  And waste put into landfills, water, the air and now even space will have an increasing impact on the planet in 10, 100 and 1000 years.  Why are we not looking at this issue as how we keep our home in order.

The global warming debate is a red herring that makes it possible to avoid the real issue.

People have impact on the planet.  When we were lightly industrialized and fewer in number, we had less impact.  Today we have more- tomorrow there will be more of us still.  So instead of arguing over whether global warming is real or not- or whether it is man made or  not… how about if we simply debate how we should be caring for the environment that supports our very existence.

Think I am splitting hairs here?

There are tremendous resources being spent on both sides of the global warming debate to prove that it is either real and more acute than we know- or utter balderdash (over 34 million gool hits on “Global Warming”).  Everything from serious research to dozens of Facebook groups.  What would happen if all the resource, energy and focus going into advocacy and diatribe about our impact on global warming was diverted into finding solutions for how so many of us live on a planet that has finite resource to support us?

There was a Midrash tale I remember reading about two Rabbinical schools who argued over decades about whether it would have been better for the earth if God had not created mankind.  One day, a young student asked “Why are we arguing about this?  We are here?  We should arguing about how to be taking care of the world?”  Now there is a question worth asking!